Oil prices rise on U.S. push to shut out Iran, supply disruptions

Oil prices rose on Wednesday as a supply disruption in Canada tightened the market and after United States officials told importers to stop buying Iranian crude from November.

Uncertainty over Libyan exports also supported crude, traders said.

Brent crude futures climbed to approximately $77.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were at $70.88.

Keen oil report Analyst says Brent sweet oil headed to 100 dollars despite severe price manipulations.

The United States demanded all countries stop imports of Iranian oil from November, a State Department official said on Tuesday.

Oil markets did not react more strongly to Washington’s pressure as the move was expected.

During the last round of sanctions, which ended in 2016, several Asian countries received waivers from Washington allowing them to continue to import from Iran.

This time, Washington already hinted when announcing renewed sanctions in May, that it was unwilling to grant waivers.

And while Tokyo and Seoul said on Wednesday they were still hoping to receive waivers from Washington, Japanese and South Korean buyers have started dialling back purchases.

Beyond looming sanctions, other threats to supply are keeping markets on edge.

In Libya, a power struggle between the official government and rebels has left it unclear, who will handle the country’s large oil exports.

In North America, a supply outage at Syncrude in Canada has locked in 350,000 bpd of crude, with repairs expected to last at least through July.

Stephen Innes of futures brokerage OANDA said the outage had contributed to a major draw in U.S. crude oil inventories.

The American Petroleum Institute (API) on Tuesday reported a 9.2 million barrel reduction in U.S. crude inventories in the week to June 22, to 421.4 million barrels.

Trying to make up for disrupted supply, the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) said late last week it would increase output.

In spite of this, French bank BNP Paribas said the “agreement to elevate output still leaves production restraints in place, limiting the market’s ability to rebuild inventories’’.

“Considering significant future supply losses faced by Iran (under U.S. sanctions) and supply risks in Venezuela and Libya, oil fundamentals still remain favourable for oil prices to rise over the next six months,’’ BNP said. (Reuters/NAN)